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Green tribunal orders Karnataka to pay Rs 2,900 crore for improper waste management

Green tribunal orders Karnataka to pay Rs 2,900 crore for improper waste management

New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has ordered the Karnataka government to pay Rs 2,900 crore as environmental compensation for improper management of solid and liquid waste.

The tribunal headed by Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said the steps taken by the state for waste management were "inadequate". The bench noted that the gap in the generation and scientific handling of solid and liquid waste had resulted in damage to the environment and public health. The compensation is to remedy the continuing damage to the environment and to comply with directions of the Supreme Court

The bench also comprised justices Sudhir Agarwal and expert members A Senthil Vel and Afroz Ahmad.

The compensation for the gap in the treatment of liquid waste or sewage of 1,427.4 million litres daily (MLD) is Rs 2,856 crores. For the un-remediated legacy waste of 178.50 metric tonnes (MT), the compensation is Rs 540 crores.

"The total compensation comes to Rs 3,396 crores, or say Rs 3,400 crores. Out of the said amount, we deduct the amount of Rs 500 crore levied as compensation vide order dated October 10, 2022," said the green panel.

The bench further said the Chief Secretary should have an appropriate mechanism for planning, execution, and oversight of the programmes for remedial action involving concerned departments within one month. The first change should be to set up a centralised single-window mechanism for planning, capacity building, and monitoring of waste management at the state level.

"It should be headed by an officer of the rank of Additional Chief Secretary with representation from concerned departments - Urban Development, Rural Development, Environment and Forest, Agriculture, Water Resources, Fisheries, and Industries," said the order.

The panel directed that the legacy waste dump sites had to be suitably fenced and covered till remediation for proper solid waste management. "The use of reclaimed land after clearance and establishment of requisite waste processing plants should also be part of the plan." For liquid waste management, the sources of clean water need to be maintained, treated sewage water should be used for non-potable purposes, and the established sewage treatment plants are required to be fully utilised, said the tribunal.

The National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) and the Ministry of Urban Development (MOUD) will monitor compliance and utilisation of funds under centrally sponsored schemes. A six-monthly progress report with verifiable progress is to be filed by the Chief Secretary with a copy to the Registrar General of the green tribunal.

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